Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"I will not bow to any sponsor"

  Characters need to eat, drink, wear clothing and drive so why wouldn’t they use real world products, especially if both the film and the product featured benefit? All films contain elements of product placement. However, none quite so bluntly and blatantly as Wayne’s World. The Saturday Night Live adapted film staring Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey which satirically pokes fun at product placement. The main characters Wayne and Garth play promotions as a joke in many of the most popular scenes of the movie. The film however, also contains more subtle references to product placement.

  One of the first instances of product placement in this film happens in one of the most memorable scenes, despite this it is often overlooked. Wayne and Garth, along with their friends, are driving when the now classic song, “Bohemian Rhapsody” begins to play. The characters mouth the lyrics and overzealously dance to the song. Today everyone over the age of twelve knows the lyrics to “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and in part that is due to Wayne’s World. David Peisner of Rolling Stone Magazine believes that Wayne’s World, “…gave the song and the band behind it an unprecedented second life”. This Queen hit was not one of the most popular songs during its time, only barely reaching top ten in the US, but this movie propelled it to number two despite being filmed years after its release. Music is product placement. A song being in a movie can introduce it to a new generation or a new fanbase. While, “Bohemian Rhapsody” greatly benefited from being in the film the band did not reach out to the movie. Instead one of the producers of Wayne’s World, Mike Meyers, remembered the song from his childhood when visiting the UK and threatened to leave the production if it was not in the film. This scene elicits pathos in others that relate it to a childhood memory like Meyers. This song also sets the tone for the perfectly quirky film and helped establish ethos due to the big name band that recorded it.

  Pizza Hut, Doritos, Pepsi, Reebok, and Mountain Dew; that list sounds reminiscent of a frat party, but in reality it is also a list of all the items in one of the most creative forms of product placement of all time. Wayne’s World is infamous for it’s use of product placement; this is the one scene in particular that is it’s claim to fame. It begins when Wayne holds a Pizza Hut box while ironically stating, “I will not bow to any sponsor”. He later is shown eating Doritos and drinking a Pepsi. While, Garth is clothed entirely in Reebok and sits next to cans of Mountain Dew. Each of these brands shares the same target demographic, teenagers. This film was targeted at teenagers with its PG 13 rating. This lets advertisers know that those in their key demographic will be watching. At the time of the movie’s release Wayne’s World was a very popular skit on Saturday Night Live, a show popular primarily with the younger generation. Each sponsor received significant benefits from partnering with the film. Every impressionable young moviegoer leaves thinking that two of their favorite characters buy these products. Wayne and Garth are seen as popular, funny, and cool; these are traits that all aspire to be defined as. If someone is convinced Pepsi or any product will make them cool they will certainly buy it.

  Wayne’s World however, benefited even more greatly from these partnerships. “Bohemian Rhapsody” changed a forgettable scene of characters driving to one of the best scenes in the film. Without the scenes mocking product placement the film wold have easily been forgotten about like other SNL spin offs, such as 1999’s Superstar. Wayne’s World achieved a cult like following because of the two scenes mentioned above which use product placement for the biggest laughs in the film. The products featured in the film are big name bands and brands, they give Wayne’s World an authenticity and real world quality that makes it unforgettable.

I give the film 5/5 Garths because the product placement made the movie. The product placement was obvious, but it was intended to be that way.

No comments:

Post a Comment